tv MSNBC Live MSNBC February 15, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PST
democrats had under hillary clinton. i think it's very, very unfair. >> the president openly defending the man he fired at his first news conference, with israel's prime minister. the overshadowing a promising first outing between two old friends. >> i've known the president and i've known his family and his team for a long time. and there is no greater supporter of the jewish people and the jewish state than president donald trump. >> we have team of reporters and analysts joining me now. let's go toifirst to peter alexander at the white house. we're going to talk about israel in a moment. i want to get to the news today, general mike flynn. the president is now blaming the media for his firing, not the fact that he lied to the administration? >> reporter: yeah, no, the bottom line is president trump today basically said that michael flynn is a wonderful man. he blamed leaks that he called
criminal acts basically said it was an effort to sort of distract from hillary clinton's, quote, terrible loss. notably as you just hit on, he basically said it was the fake news as he described it, that was responsible for treating michael flynn so unfairly, which raises a question that donald trump didn't have to answer because it never got posed to him, but the question we would have liked to ask is, if it was fake news, then why did you fire him just a couple of days ago? it's a question that remains unanswered right now, even as the white house is looking forward to trying to find a new national security adviser with acting national security adviser keith kellogg in that role right now. another question not answered because it wasn't posed to president trump today was a question focused on the new reporting from a variety of outlets suggesting that there were contacts between donald trump, his campaign, and its officials and more broadly some senior russian intelligence figures. the reporting we are hearing from a senior law enforcement official is that these were not
necessarily repeated contacts, but that there were contacts of some kind. katy? >> peter, he made this claim that it was the media's fault at a news conference with benjamin netanyahu. do we have any clearer picture of where this white house stands with its relations to israel? it seems like he was a bit all over the map today. >> reporter: yeah, you could say he was a bit all over the map with some of his comments but i think the imagery is something that will be read across much of the arab world in such a way that you had the prime minister of israel, his wife arriving with donald trump and his wife there to greet them with embraces here at the west wing. the two stood side by side. effectively saying there is no better ally for one another than the other. what was notable in terms of the inconsistencies were the comments specifically about a one- or two-state solution. president trump said he wasn't too concerned. here's part of what we heard from the president. take a listen. >> so i'm looking at two-state and one-state and i like the one
that both parties like. i'm very happy with the one that both parties like. >> the chinese are called chinese because they come from china. the japanese are called japanese because they come from japan. well, jews are called jews because they come from jedea. this is our ancestral homeland. so unfortunately the palestinians not only denied the past, they also poisoned the present. >> reporter: donald trump effectively predicting he can help broker an end to the tensions in the middle east and try to find some solution that creates a lasting peace. on the issue of settlements, there was a striking moment when the president looked over at the prime minister and basically said, i need you to hold off for a little bit on the expansion of developments which is notable, most notably because jared kushner, who donald trump has effectively said will help sort of try to broker this peace process, is someone whose own
family had supported the expansion of jewish settlements and the gentleman, david friedman, who has now been named at the next u.s. ambassador to israel with hearings beginning tomorrow is someone who, himselvhimsel himself, has funded the expansion of settlements. katy snr katy? >> peter, thank you. we're going to talk more about israel later in the hour. first back to the news of the day. general mike flynn. let's go down pennsylvania avenue and talk to kasie hunt. the white house is obviously trying to tamp down on this but the democrats are doing squaujue opposite. what is their next step? >> reporter: katy, the democrats don't have options on the teenage bauds th table, because they're in the minority in the house and senate. they're trying to figure out how to go about in a whey that puts as much pressure as possible on the trump administration, on this issue. senator chuck schumer huddled with his caucus behind closed doors after votes today. he was on the senate floor earlier talking about this. he spoke to reporters earlier.
take a look at what he had to say. >> general flynn's resignation, the outright lies coming from his administration -- from this administration, and the reports of constant contact between the top officials in the trump campaign and russian intelligence are chilling. i've been in congress for a long time. i've never seen anything like this. these reports and revelations should not pit the two parties against one another. they should unite the parties in pursuit of the full truth. >> reporter: the question here, of course, with democrats united in talking about this this way is what kind of pressure does republican leadership come under? this, you know, this is basically the largest of a series of day-to-day distractions, missteps republicans will say privately behind the scenes on part of the trump administration. that many republicans on capitol hill feel is distracting and damaging their attempts to move
pretty ambitious agenda on health care, on tax reform, on other issues. and so far, republicans in congress have mostly stayed out of the way, partly because they know that trump will sign -- president trump will sign the legislation they sent his way. but what's been going on in the white house has prevented them from making significant progress and i think between that and the outside political pressure around these russia stories could potentially cause republican leadership to change course, perhaps use a select committee to investigate this instead of keeping it in the senate and house intelligence committees. >> the democrats aren't all alone. there is some republican support. take a listen to lindsey graham earlier today. >> if there were trump officials, campaign officials, collaborating with the russians, that is a big-time bad move on their part and i want to punish russia for interfering in our campaign even more agregressive than i do today and any trump person who collaborated with the russians if they did, they should be punished. >> let's get into this a little
bit more with joan walsh, msnbc pli political analyst. charlie sykes, author and msnbc contributor. charlie, i want to start with you. lindsey graham has stronger words, john mccain has stronger words. what point does mitch mcconnell feel enough pressure to, himself, come out and say, listen, we have to figure out something out about this? >> next time a shoe drops or the public opinion polls go down -- >> they're down pretty low. >> they're going to have to make a political calculation the smart political move might be to create an independent 9/11-tip commission to just get it off of their plates to insulate themselves from political pressure. so that they don't have their fingerprints either on something that is damning to president trump or looks like somehow they're providing cover for him. so at some point, it might actually be the most prudent thing for them to do to go along and create an independent and opt for an independent investigation. >> we're not at that point yet. >> we're not at that point yet. >> why are we not at that point yet? >> because of the hope, because
of the carrot, the football is still there for, you know, to kick. >> to dederegulate, appeal obamacare. get their agenda done. >> as long as there's a possibility this legislation they have dealt with for years and years and years is going to get to president trump's desk, he's going to sign it, they're going to be extremely reluctant to pull the trigger. >> they're going deal with it until they cannot deal with it any longer. >> exactly. >> president trump calls these leaks very disconcerting. are they leakers or whistleblowers? >> i would call them whistleblowers. i would say this, i think as a reporter, as a person of the right, as a person of the left, all of us should be a little bit uncomfortable with the fact that right now, the intelligence community does control this story. we have kind of a spy versus spy, except i don't think they're fighting with each other more, buzz it is leak, whistle blow, whatever we want to call. we don't have the whole story. i just don't really understand why someone like paul ryan came out yesterday and said, well, this is all taken care of, yuan, donald trump took care of it,
we'll let the system work and, you know, the standing committees have it and we're good. well, actually, donald trump today said that, you know, poor general flynn was hounded out by fake news. either paul ryan should care that he was hounded out by fake news or he should care that something really went wrong. this idea, i almost think they would get more of their agenda done if they kicked it over to a 9/1 9/11-style commission. >> exactly. this is taking up so much of their time, so much of their attention. to be able to say we washed our hands of it, it is in the hands of something that will be credible, you know, why not? >> let me play devil's advocate. first, i want to remind our viewers that joan walsh and charlie sykes are on the complete opposite side of the ideological aisle. >> we'll once again debate. here we're mostly agreeing so for. >> let me play devil's advocate. how much there is there when it comes to the intelligence leaks? "the new york times" story started with a bombshell lead but most of it was a rehash of what we already knew. there was not a smoking gun to
say that the trump campaign did deal directly with the russians to collude with them to somehow effect this election. >> but there's a lot of smoke. we don't have the fire yet but there's an awful lot. there's an awful lot there. and the body language of the way this is playing out doesn't make any sense unless there's something deeper and i think that's got to be the concern on people in both sides. how deep does this go? how high does it go? what did the president know, when did he know it? all of that. you get the sinense that the firing of general flynn is the beginning of an unraveling process. we don't know the answer to your question except the hint is out there and clearly we do have an intelligence community that is in full absolute revolt against the president. there's no question about it, there is a flood of leaks. so this is not going away and it has a potential to get much, much, much worse. >> kasie, let's go back to you, you have your hand on the pulse of capitol hill. people talk to you behind the scenes and maybe say things they wouldn't say in front of a camera.
what is your sense of the tide and how far it is going out right now in terms of support among republicans for this white house? >> reporter: look, katy, i do think they are on thinner ice than they have been at any other point. i realize it's been 20-something days since the president has taken office, so, you know, maybe that statement feels a little bit off kilter, but the reality is, there has been sort of crisis after crisis after crisis that have, you know, resolved themselves. the administration has continued forward. i think this is really the first time where there is a very real sense that it could go one way or the other. if this, you know, takes a turn, i think that there is a very real possibility that the president could lose support among top republicans in congress. they are not at that point yet. just to underscore. they are still kind of on this, you know, sense of, okay, we're just going to keep our heads down, we're going to keep doing our work, we're not going to respond to things that seem silly to us, every tweet, but i
do think the way that withdrew s you saw the speaker respond yesterday, the fact he said this was the right thing to do, he responded to something that happened at all instead of offering the typical, hey, i'm not going to respond to every twist and turn, and then you had mitch mcconnell essentially say the senate intelligence committee was going to expand the scope of its investigation to include looking at these contacts that flynn had and since then, you know, behind the scenes i talked to a republican aide who used the words, "drip, drip, drip," and the damage fch for all these leaders in congress is they were all quite frankly taken by surprise by the fervor in donald trump's political base to a certain extent a lot of them still don't understand it, and so there's a reluctance to oppose him publicly, but i do think that if things continue this way, there is some very dangerous territory ahead for the trump white house. >> and peter, is that what this white house is still banking on that he's got his public support in place, they're not going to move, so it doesn't really
matter what is happening in washington? >> reporter: well, he's trying to rally some of that public support, we learned within the last few minutes that donald trump this weekend when he heads back to his mar-a-lago property on sat durday is going to host rally. you've been to plenty of them. this is going to take place many melbourne, florida, which is interesting given the fact tonight at the white house president trump and his wife, m melania, going to host the rub b rubios. rubio has obviously been over the course of the campaign season a very fierce critic of donald trump and even after president -- candidate trump became president trump, marco rubio has been among the fiercest critics of his position, his poll citi policie russia. interrogator, questioner during the hearings of the now secretary of state rex tillerson. rubio said a short time ago in a tweet basically it is his senate intelligence committee that's going to expand to include the conversations surrounding mike flynn and its investigation into
russian interference in the 2016 election. so all of that, the backdrop or donald trump who obviously even on this occasion, katy, you wrnsed wrns witnessed it when he was standing side by side with prime minister benjamin netanyahu, asked to basically condemn aint semitism and ultimately he did speak about how his daughter, ivanka trump, converted to jude ism, spoke fondly of his son-in-law, jared kushner, his desire moving forward to try to get rid of racism in this country, also began his remarks by touting his own electoral college victory which fuels so much of his confidence as he talks about all these issues. >> one note on melbourne, florida, specifically where donald trump you said is going, that is a fervent base of support for him. it was hit hard by the aerospace industry. went there a couple times, once during the campaign and got a giant crowd. peter alexander, interesting news coming from you in the white house today. kasie hunt.
joan walsh. charlie sykes. thank you, everybody. ahead i'll talk to someone who says the intelligence community is out to get this president. republican congressman steve king on what he's calling a political assassination. coming up. but first, today's microsoft pulse question. we're asking, can peace in the middle east be achieved if the u.s. abandons a two-state solution between israel and the palestinians? cast your vote at pulse.msnbc.com. that college experience that i had. the classes, the friends, the independence. and since we planned for it, that student debt is the one experience, i'm glad she'll miss when you have the right financial advisor, life can be brilliant. ameriprise if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis like me, and you're talking to your rheumatologist
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somehow the media's responsible for treating flynn unfairly, but the president was the one who fired him and, you know, what i found most distu disturbing about this whole chapter is, maybe this is what bothers the president, he was okay with flynn being dishonest, he was okay with the vice president misrepresenting the truth to the country. he wasn't even going to correct the record for the public until this was leaked to the "washington post." and i suppose what bothers him, his being forced to act. >> that right there, representative adam schiff, on earlier with andrea mitchell on her show at noon today, there is mounting pressure from democrats to call for an independent commission to investigate flynn. that's also because there is new "new york times" reporting out that trump campaign officials and associates had repeated contact with russian intelligence. the keyword there is "campaign,"
that means before zrdonald trum was inaugurated before he was the president. nbc talked to two top campaign aides, roger stone, paul manafort. important to note roger stone was only a campaign aide early on in the campaign then became sort of informal adviser. they both deny any knowing contact with russian intelligence. and nbc is now reporting that that "new york times" story was a bit overheated according to a senior law enforcement official. basically saying that there wasn't a lot there, there in that article so far, at least. this as republicans are pushing back and saying what the real issue is here is the leaks. and one of those republicans is republican congressman steve king of iowa who joins me now from capitol hill. congressman, thank you so much for joining me, number one. i want to get you to react to what adam schiff, congressman schiff, said to andrea mitchell earlier that donald trump is basically just angry because
flynn was caught and he was forced to fire him. is that what you believe? >> no, and i don't believe it from a technical standpoint. there's conflicting stories out there. i read flynn's letter of resignation. that wub tould be the technicalt he did resign and said why in that letter. kellyanne conway said it was flynn's decision. i know that sean spicer said that it was that he was fired. so there's conflicting stories out here and this story that's going on right now is just, that part's over, but what's important is this information that came out that proposes that there was a transcript or exists a transcript in conversation between general flynn and the ambassador to the united states from russia. where is this transcript? apparently it was made available to "the new york times" and "washington post." if that's true, that transcript if it's generated by our federal government, our fbi, for example, our potentially our federal intelligence community,
it would be a violation of federal law to leak that out. so that is a big deal, and it says something about the entire trump administration for the duration of the time that president trump would be president, one or two terms, that the information that needs to remain classified didn't remain classified in the first 25 days and that just -- that is a fearsome thing to think about when you think that any of our intelligence information could be compromised so easily, especially when it appears to be for a spiteful political gain. >> do you believe that our intelligence information that was compromised by general mike flynn by having a conversation with the russian ambassador during the transition, and unsanctioned conversation that broke protocol, you don't think that maybe that is a bigger deal than the fact that the public found out about it? >> well, broke protocol, i don't know that it broke protocol. >> it didn't great protocol for him to have a conversation with the russian ambassador, talking about -- >> i don't believe that it did. >> -- russian sanctions? >> i don't believe it did.
>> why was he fired if he didn't break protocol? >> because allegedly he wasn't straight with the vice president and didn't give him a full briefing. that's why. the loss of confidence. that's been very clear. a loss of confidence between president trump and general michael flynn. but as far as protocol is concerned, if you have an appointed national security adviser as general flynn was, i would expect him to communicate with counterparts in foreign countries to build that kind of foundation so when the day comes that the president's inaugura inaugurated, you're ready to hit the ground running. i expect them to do that. i don't think it breaks proet come. >> this came the same day that president obama expelled russian nationals from this country, expecting vladimir putin to do the same. the very next day donald trump tweets vladimir putin is a very smart man. you were expecting and you are okay with the national security adviser, the incoming national security adviser, calling the russian ambassador and saying don't worry about it, potential l i haven't seen the transcript, reportedly saying don't worry
about it, we're going to get into office soon, don't overreact. you're okay with that? >> you and the press -- >> that's undercutting -- >> you're writing words into the mouth -- you're writing words into the mouth of general flynn. we don't have a dratranscript a don't have an allegation that we shade don't worry about it, we have a presumption that he said don't worry about it. we don't know how general it might have been or how specific is might have been. it's important to learn first, how did these leaks come about, who are the people that are responsible? charges should be brought against them. in the process of that investigation, then perhaps we'll find out and get a look at the transcript of those conversations. we should follow the facts and follow them where they leads us. if there's any truth to this story at all, federal laws have been violated by leaking classified information to the press. >> you are calling for an investigation to see that transcript? >> i'm suggesting this, chairman devon nunez of the select
committee continue his investigation, accelerate if he can and have access to those transcripts and find out the source of them, the source of them is more important than the substance of them. the substance of them that we think is there doesn't indicate there's a violation of the federal law but this source, the leakage clearly does. that's a violation of 18 usc 798 and the culprits would be facing a potential ten-year prison charge. i don't know why they would have a spiteful motive they would expose themselves to charges like that especially with incoming attorney general for the first time in eight years that would enforce the law. >> congressman, i take your point that these leaks are very serious and you want to get down to who exactly is leaking. i'm a bit surprised to hear you say that now because donald trump, himself, was all for leaks during the campaign. i want to play a little bit of what he said over the course of the 17 months that he was campaigning. take a listen. >> russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.
all you have to do is take a look at wikileaks. this just came out. this just came out. wikileaks. i love wikileaks. amazing nothing is secret today when you talk about the internet. boy, i love wikileaks. wikile wikileaks. they have revealed a lot. that came out on wikileaks. >> leaks are okay when they benefit donald trump? >> well, i recall julian assange said they didn't get that information from russia. i will say donald trump -- >> julian assange says that, i'm sorry, congressman, the entire intelligence community say they got that from russia. many of your colleagues say that. really? >> katy, i went to the classified briefing, i listened to the intelligence community give us their version. that was not convincing and they didn't divulge a single fact. they only gave an opinion. and when i hear john brennan
with the venom that seems to be in his voice after donald trump was elected president, it's not hard to manage that in the intelligence community, donald trump has his enemies and some of those enemies are not as restrained as they ought to be. i don't know how far they might have been willing to go, but i've heard too much of this dishonestsy coming out that's politically note investiga lly this at face value unless i see some facts. they have no facts. i listened carefully for them. >> the fact of the matter is donald trump, leaks from russia or not, donald trump love ed les when they were benefiting him during the campaign. he doesn't so much love them now. it seems to be a bit of a dichotomy, if you will. >> and i would say democrats love investigation when it serves their political purpose but surely didn't want to see one of hillary clinton or of susan rice, by the way, who came to america, came before america and lied before five different media on a single day on a sunday about benghazi, and was never held accountable. not by president obama, not by
her own party, and she served out her term clear to the end. >> it seems like -- >> there's a double standard. >> -- you're saying two wrongs make a wrong. >> i'm saying a big wrong has gotten a pass. that's what susan rice -- >> congressman steve king, thank you so much for joining me. >> thanks, katy. >> appreciate your time as always. defense secretary james mattis is in brussels reassuring allies about america's commitment to nato but sending a strong message to our allies. we'll go live to belgium next. plus democrats pounce on the political gift of michael flynn's resignation. do they have the power to take this probe all the way to the president? i'll ask democratic congressman elliot engel next. ♪ ♪
breaking news to report. labor -- potential labor secretary andy puzder is no longer a potential labor secretary. he is going to withdraw his name from nomination, according to sources who are talking to nbc news' peter alexander and kasie hunt. andy puzder's nomination hadn't gotten to the confirmation stage or the confirmation hearing stage. they were still waiting on quite a bit of paperwork. there's been controversy surrounding his nomination. specifically because the department that he wanted to lead, the labor department, he didn't necessarily believe in a federal minimum wage hike, he also expressed belief earlier on that robots should enter the workforce. there was also on top of all of that, some pretty serious allegati allegations. oprah released a tape, an interview with andy puzder's ex-wife where she accused him of assaulting her. we want to go now straight to stephanie, one of our msnbc anchors, to tell us a little bit more about what happened with
this nomination. z stephanie? >> reporter: you know, this is somewhat extraordinary. andy puzder had been a donald trump backer throughout the campaign. he was one of the few ceos you saw sort of do media and speak on donald trump's behalf. and some had said when me accepted the nomination from donald trump, he was enthusia enthusiast enthusiastic, but then it took him an enormous amount of time to even get his paperwork in. i heard from some who were close to him saying he wasn't prepared for the amount, the heavy load he was going to have to submit. it was something like three, maybe four times, it was puzder who delayed getting his pap paperwork in, where the media often thought, oh, maybe things are sitting with the ethics department and that wasn't the case. if you think about the many issues around him, it wasn't just progressive in the left or labor groups pushing back against him because of how employees were necessarily treated or didn't support raising minimum wage. he was also pro-immigration because he certainly liked cheap labor in the carl's jr. fast food chain. he was getting pressure from
both sides and he did, as you mentioned eed have the alleged spousal abuse which was recanted but this oprah tape is floating about there and there was the issue of his housekeeper who was undocumented and since then he released her and also paid the back taxes, but there is just across the board a lot of hair on this. republicans, you know, not having the votes just seems like maybe this isn't going to happen, but for weeks we've said he seems a bit skittish about even going forward here. >> well, talk to me a little bit about why he was skittish, what sort of information were they trying to get him to release? >> reporter: well, that's unclear. it wasn't like he had submitted some of his paperwork or they had been pushing back for -- he was missing deadline after deadline after really submitting nothing. you know, it's a huge shift for a lot of these businesspeople to now put themselves in a different position and be part of working for the government. something that, you know, the idea of it is good, but when you actually go through the nuts and
bolts, liook at what the confirmation hearings have been like for other nominees, look at what bet spi sy devos went thro. andy puzder, going through all this, many have complicated finances. it's unclear what took him so long to get his paperwork in, but for many, almost inexcusable. we said we're bringing in all these very wealthy people, one would think they have the resources to get all that paperwork in, but for weeks, remember, the fact that there are potentially these allegations about spousal abuse, and there had been pushback about advertisements he had in the past, you know, bikini clad women eating hamburgers. it could have been noise he simply wasn't up for. >> stephanie, thanks so much for getting to a phone so quickly to help us understand this. let's go to peter alexander, kasie hunt, two nbc folks who are able to confirm this story. peter, first, to you, what have you learned? >> reporter: the bottom line, you just reported here on msnbc, we have now heard from a senior administration official that andy puzder, who was up for
labor secretary, is expected to withdraw that nomination. obviously one of the challenges with this nomination was republican support. there was a growing number of senate republicans who wouhad expressed doubts abl s about pu. unclear if the votes would is been there to support his nomination in the confirmation process. obviously didn't get to that point. the hearing having not yet taken place as stephanie noted a moment ago. the paperwork that puzder was required to provide has yet to be provided to this point. among the questions that folks, his critics specifically had been focusing on were among other things his 25-year-old divorce that was said to have been a fierce divorce, rancorous at the time. some of his past criticism of minimum wage laws as well. also obviously the advertising campaigns. he was the head of cke restaurants. behind places like carl's jr.s and hardee's obviously. you may recognize carl's jr. not
only for their burgers but their advertising campaigns that often included scantily clad women eating burgers that some people viewed as sexist. those are elements of the criticism about andy puzder that had grown over the course of the last several weeks focusing on his personal background and his business record more broadly. >> kasie, talk tom to me about you've been hearing on the hill r . >> reporter: the nomination, republican opposition, not democrat opposition. democrats have been opposed to basically, i'm struggling to come up with nominees they have supported aside from those who have been appointed to national security posts. so the concern here, peter did a nice outline of kind of the history behind puzder's career and why it might have caused pause. i think women senators in both parties were a key part of this. senators collins, murkowski, both on the committee, that
oversees this nomination. portabl potentially would have played a role in a hearing that was set for tomorrow. the reality is they don't want this to go to a hearing and a vote if they know he's not going to pass here on capitol hill. so a senior gop source telling me that, quote, it's dead, the nomination, and this is what's been generating it. we've been dealing with conversations around this nomination really for weeks now. there were rumors that he was going to withdraw, that had started many weeks ago almost from immediately as stephanie was walking us through a little bit of some of these issues around his paperwork. things along those lines. but this is not, i wouldn't say, unexpected and i do think he's in a much different category than all of these other nominees where you've seen intense partisan opposition but republicans have by if large gone along with it. >> kasie, peter, stay with me. i want to go to elliot engel, a new york congressman on capitol hill, a democrat as well. congressman, i know you're not in the senate so this is not necessarily your purview, but can you give me a little bit of
reaction from your side of things to seeing one of donald trump's nominees have to withdraw his name? >> well, you know, on the democratic side, we've been a bit underwhelmed in terms of all the nominees that this administration has put forward. and i guess this is just another example of where you nominate someone to head an agency that that person really wants to destroy the agency and take away the agency's commitment to what the agency is supposed to stand for. so i think it's generally a positive thing, but, of course, he'll be replaced by somebody else and we'll have to see if those kinds of problems or similar problems surface but so far most of the cabinet choices have been a bit underwhelming. >> so what would you be looking for in a replacement? >> well, someone i think who's moderate, someone who doesn't want to stifle the agency, you know, labor is supposed to help people.
supposed to get at pocketbook issues and workforce issues and if you don't believe in those kinds of protections and you're the head of the agency, what does it say for what kind of job you're going to do? you're going to be cross purposes with the agency you're supposed to run and that's really problematic i think. >> congressman, i know you have to run, but wait, hold on if you can for another 30 seconds for me. i want to go back to peter alexander for just a quick final note on this. peter, do we have any idea who the administration plans to nominate in his plan? >> reporter: that's a goods question. actually, you know, we haven't had an opportunity to even focus on who's next given all the challenges that puzder had until this point which we had been zeroing in on right now. we'll be focusing on that a moment from now. i think what is notable to share is that if he had been confirmed puzder would have been the first labor secretary without -- without government experience in effect since the reagan era. will be interesting to see whether donald trump sticks to his guns and focuses on folks outside the public service
sector and focuses on folks with private business experience or if he continues with what he had tried to do with andy puzder before. >> kasie hunt, one final question to you as well, what role did oprah play in this, how significant was it? >> reporter: an unusual situation here, katy, this interview that puzder's ex-wife did many years ago on "the oprah winfrey show" was actually showed to senators behind closed doors in the course of this confirmation process. and it did play a significant role. the republican chairman of the committee allowed this to go forward. telling various news outlets there's no reason why this shouldn't be seen, we should definitely note that the woman in question withdrew the domestic violence abuse allegations that she leveled at puzder in this interview with oprah. so that's kind of been the back and forth there, but it's entirely possible that this could have become the center of a contentious hearing which, of course, was set for tomorrow. you'll note that this is much
past when we've held all of these other confirmation hearings. this one kept getting delayed, kept getting delayed. that, of course, is a sign of trouble afoot and part of kind of that process was making sure that senators had a chance to take a look at this interview. again, those allegations were eventually recanted. it's important to note. but an important behind the scenes role here. >> congressman, if you're still there, i want to go back to you. i know we had you on -- i'm glad you are still there. >> yes. >> i know we initially talked you about the news of day which is michael flynn. you say that you believe this current drama, if you will, is bigger than watergate. how so? >> well, i think it has the potential to be bigger than watergate, that's why i'm for the creation of an independent commission to seek out really the truth. we have a situation, you know, watergate was serious. and there were lies then and it was a political break-in. it involved the united states
both parties of the united states. this where ruith russia's invol has the potential to be far, far more dangerous. you have a country that has itself in an adversarial relationship with the united states. you have a leader of that country who's invaded crimea and eastern ukraine and several other countries in the region. and it seems that there was a very cozy relationship between vladimir putin and donald trump or people working with donald trump. and there's always going to be questions and whispers until we get to bottom of it, until we get to the truth of it. and why this is much more serious is because you have vladimir putin who's a former head of the soviet union, the russian kgb. he wants to destroy western democracies. he wants to destroy nato and the european union. and if there was some kind of a collusion, it seems pretty obvious now that the russians involved themselves in the u.s.
political election, the presidential election, putting the heart of our very democracy at stake with the leaks of the dnc and whatever. i would be just as outraged if they were leaks from the rnc. i mean, i don't want russia or any foreign hostile country interfering with u.s. democracy and u.s. elections and it's pretty clear they did and we're suspicious about it and the american public ought to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth. >> congressman eliot engel, democrat from new york, thank withdrew for staying around. also thank you to kasie hunt and peter alexander for breaking that news for us on andy puzder withdrawing his nomination news, we have a little bit of reaction out of the senate. here is a tweet, we're going to throw it up for you on the screen, from elizabeth warren on andy puzder. she says "reports say andy puzder is tired and may withdraw his u.s. dol nomination. if he can't stand the heat, he should get out of the kitchen." stay with us.
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house. you did see them a little bit earlier right there giving their first press conference together. notably before they sat down to talk, and boy was it a change in optics from what we saw between prime minister naetanyahu and president obama while he was in office. joining me now to talk about the differences, and the similarities, if they exist, daniel, a former deputy foreign minister of israel, and former israeli ambassador to the u.s. also with me, nbc news special kcorrespondent and author, martn fletcher. was from washington, he's sean mellom, washington bureau chief of the al aravea news channel. martin, i want to start with you, longtime nbc news foreign correspondent based in really well, you know netanyahu really well. did he hear what he wabnted to today? >> and how. i think for the netanyahus this was basically a love in with the american president. it couldn't have gone better. if the goal was to show there was no space between israel and
the united states, i think they achieved that today. calling on the prime minister netanyahu's wife, sarah, to stand up and take a bow almost, i mean, if you were a palestinian leader watching this from the west bank or gaza, you must be thinking this is the end of the palestinian journey. >> talk to me about that. what is the reaction right now in the middle east to that press conference? >> the words of the american president and i don't want to talk about netanyahu, the words of the american president are at least disheartening. and depressing. and they are going to be shocking to many people. here you have a president breaking with most of his predecessors on the issue of the two-state solution and did it in a trumpian position, flippantly. i accept anything, one-state, two-state, anything they come up with. without realizing that the major advances in peace process in the past happened only because the
american president was intellectually, emotionally and politically invested. this is a president who is not well informed. he's going to be influenced by people in his family. he is going to be charmed by a man like netanyahu and he is in deep trouble as it is today and he thinks that just because there is hostility toward iran and israel and some arab states, that this hostility to iran is a prerequisite or sufficient for a peace betwe peace. if there's no two states for the israelis and palestinians to live side by side, this is an exercise in futility and he is condemning the palestinians and the israelis to live in this state of low-intensity strive. >> let me play devil's advocate, hisham, if i can. you say the only solution is a two-state solution and the reason peace talks succeeded in the past at least to a degree is
because of the american commitment to that but there is no two-state solution and we have spent -- the countries have spent decades trying to come to a peaceful agreement that holds. it hasn't happened. what about those who say there needs to be a change in course? >> changing course -- what this -- the end result, i mean, what is the end result? i mean, what are we negotiating for? a situation where the palestinians will accept a benign form of occupation? either you have end of occupation or you are going to have, let's be blunt about it, a one-state -- a one region controlled by the israeli military might that would be essentially an ampartheid state or undemocratic state sfaras fa the jews are concerned. either an apartheid state, take control of the palestinian population, or going to have a separation in which there would be later on hopefully good neighbor relationship because the two communitieses are so close to each other. but if there is no end to the occupation because occupation is
the problem, and when netanyahu says settlements are not the problem, no, settlements are part of the problem and if the president of the united states is going to move the embassy to jerusalem, again, he is condemning the region to more violence. i mean, this president is uninformed and it was clear today. this is a serious matter. it's true that the arabs are busy with their own tragic civil wars and conflicts and all that, but it doesn't mean that they don't care about the palestinians or it doesn't mean that the palestinians are incapable of resisting pressure from countries like egypt and jordan and others or qatar for that matter. we're talking about the future of a community and now netanyahu obviously is basking in the glory of support from president trump, but that's, you know, this is a recipe for more disasters. >> hisham, let's leave it there for a second. i want to get to daniel. the optics are a lot difference.
warmth in the room. substance much different, donald trump equivocated a bit when he's talking about moving the embassy to jerusalem. he did tell netanyahu, settlements, he needs to hold off on them. >> you're right, katy. the alliance between israel and the united states is a natural one, whether a democrat in the white house, a republican, whether it's a labor party in jerusalem. we have the same values, the same interests. the optics are different. people forget but obama was a great president for israel in terms of the defense corporation, intelligence and u.s. always had our back as we have the u.s. back. iron dome, one example, against counterterrorism. you name it. the optics are important. i think what was missing maybe in the last eight years that obama thought that a daylight between israel and the united states would bring the palestinians forward. but this did not happen. always there has been the tenet
in american policy was that if the u.s. and israel, there's no daylight between them, then any enemy will have no -- will be deterred against any mischief and israel will be confident enough to make concessions. we made great concessions. i'm sorry to say but what hisham said is completely wrong. it's not the, quote/unquote, occupation. if the palestinians wanted to end the occupation as they call it, they would have accepted the partition plan in 1947, they accepted the prime minister under president clinton, which was far reaching and also during the negotiations, another israeli prime minister gave a g everything to him and they walked away. why? they did not want to recognize israel's right to be there. this is the main problem and then everything will be all set. settlement. you cannot just cherry pick. settlement is only one issue. secure borders. jerusalem. issue of migrations. or what they call the refugees. you cannot expect the
palestinians will migrate, millions into our own country. all this have to be put together and hopefully trump has the idea of maybe deviate from the long past and maybe have a fresh approach. >> it's complicated. martin, really quickly, last word, what is the number one thing that netanyahu is going to try to get out of trump in these private talks? >> well, he's going nr for -- h would like to direct attention to iran and away from the settlements. i think that's going to be the key issue he wants to talk about. i think peace with the palestinians would probably dominate. >> martin fletcher, thank you so much. daniel ayalon, hisham melhemu thank you u for beifor me here. can peace in be achieved -- it's lopsided as craig martin -- craig melvin, geez louise, my brain, said earlier. 5% of you say yes. 95% of you say no it cannot happen.
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if i can see lindsey graham say make america great again with a smile on his face, everything is possible. >> the world is upside down. >> i want to apologize to ted for saying he should be killed on the senate floor. >> dogs and cats living together. that will do it for me this hour. i'm katy tur. kate snow picks things up for us right now live on capitol hill. kate? >> hey, katy. nice to see you. good afternoon, everyone, i'm kate snow down in washington this afternoon. top stories at this hour, let's start with the breaking news. a senior administration official telling nbc news that andy puzder is expected to withdraw